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The Quest for Prevalence: Twentieth-Century Studies—1900–1950

  • John J. Schwab
  • Mary E. Schwab
Part of the Topics in General Psychiatry book series (TGPS)

Abstract

Scientific interest in the prevalence of mental illness in populations waned in the latter decades of the nineteenth and early decades of the twentieth centuries for many reasons. As we discussed in Chapter 7, investigators realized that their methods for studying prevalence were extremely crude. (Andrew Halliday’s work in Scotland in 1828 and Jarvis’ work in Massachusetts in 1855 are exceptions.) And questions about the possible relationship between civilization and insanity were so global and imprecise that they could not be evaluated scientifically. Subsequent contributions would be dependent upon advances along three fronts: (1) developing more sophisticated methodology, especially sampling procedures for community and family surveys and analytic techniques for working with data; (2) conducting field studies of general populations to learn about the undiagnosed and untreated; and (3) utilizing healthy controls to provide meaningful comparisons. The lack of a Standard system for diagnosis and classification of the mental disorders hampered the evolution of psychiatric epidemiology.

Keywords

Mental Disorder Mental Illness Clinical Psychiatry Expectancy Rate Mental Hygiene 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • John J. Schwab
    • 1
  • Mary E. Schwab
    • 2
  1. 1.University of LouisvilleLouisvilleUSA
  2. 2.Massachusetts Mental Health CenterBostonUSA

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